In brief: Philips buys medSage, FDA warns Invacare

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PITTSBURGH - Royal Philips Electronics (Respironics) has acquired medSage Technologies, a provider of patient management software designed to help HME providers improve compliance and outcomes, and streamline the re-supply process for patients with OSA, diabetes and other diseases.


Philips announced the acquisition last week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "This acquisition is fully aligned to our strategy of providing home care providers with new opportunities to enhance their service offerings with an effective and cost-efficient application," said Steve Rusckowski, CEO of Philips Healthcare.


FDA sends Invacare a warning


SANFORD, Fla. - The FDA sent Invacare a warning letter last month for failing to correctly document allegations that some of its hospital beds made here malfunctioned. One allegation claimed that a junction box on a bariatric bed caught fire, sending two patients to the hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation. Another allegation claimed that an 11-year-old child died after being entrapped in an Invacare bed. Failure to correct the documentation violations could result in "seizure, injunction, and/or civil money penalties," the FDA stated in its letter. In response, Invacare issued the following statement last week: "Invacare wants to assure users and the general public that we rigorously test our products and stand fully behind the safety of our products. The FDA warning letter does not state that our products are unsafe nor has it impacted our production. The letter is related to documentation procedures. We take all FDA matters very seriously, and we intend to address all of the FDA's concerns."


CERT hosts teleconference on oxygen errors


BALTIMORE - The DME MAC National CERT Education Task Force announced last week that it will host an oxygen "ask the contractor" teleconference Feb. 3 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. The target audience: DMEPOS suppliers. "In a unique approach to reducing CERT errors, DME MAC Jurisdictions A, B, C and D have collaborated to form the DME MAC CERT Education Task Force," according to a release. "The task force has identified common national errors and has developed consistent educational messages, which are used by all four jurisdiction in support of reducing errors." Members of the task force will answer questions related to: coverage criteria, testing requirements, certificates of medical necessity and documentation. To register, go to


Medtrade springs into 2011


LAS VEGAS - Registration for Medtrade Spring is open. The event takes place April 12-14 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. With an "Early Bird" discount, registration costs $25 to access the exhibit hall and $99 to access both the exhibit hall and educational sessions. To register, go to


Report: Reduce hospital stays and make money


NEW YORK - A new report predicts "flourishing" growth for companies that make medical equipment--provided it reduces hospital stays and keeps patients in the home. In the new report, "The Global Market for Medical Devices," Kalorama Information's analysts predict 4% to 6% growth over the next few years in the global device market, which was valued at $290 billion in 2009. "Some categories of medical devices are commoditized and competition will hold prices in check, while in other areas revenues will flourish," said Kalorama Information's Publisher Bruce Carlson. "Patient monitoring, oxygen systems, home dialysis--anything that can reduce hospital stays and keep patients at home with their family--are seeing faster revenue growth."


Contractor pauses wheelchair review


FARGO, N.D. - Although error rates remain high for standard power wheelchair claims, a CMS contractor announced on Dec. 29 that it plans to discontinue its prepayment review due to upcoming changes in payment for K0823. In the second quarter, from September 2010 through November 2010, Noridian Administrative Services (NAS), the Jurisdiction D DME MAC, found that of 253 claims reviewed, 232 were denied, resulting in an error rate of 92%. On Jan. 1, however, Medicare started paying for standard power wheelchairs over the course of 13 months instead of in one lump sum in the first month. "NAS will continue to monitor the billing patterns of this and all power mobility devices to determine if further review is necessary," the DME MAC stated in a bulletin.


Denials for oxygen increase


FARGO, N.D. - In the second quarter, from September 2010 through November 2010, Noridian found that of 865 claims for oxygen and oxygen equipment reviewed, 573 were denied, resulting in an error rate of 67%. That's compared to a 54% error rate in the first quarter. "Due to this high error rate, NAS will continue with the widespread complex review," the DME MAC stated in a Dec. 29 bulletin.